Let me preface this review by saying I’ve known Summer since she was barely out of her teens and coming out to sit in or jam at various venues I was playing at around Victoria BC. I’ve watched her career with great interest and she has really improved a lot since those early days. Summer’s music has always been very blues rooted with strong soul elements and sometimes rock elements, partly depending on who were in her bands.
So, the CD at hand… This is actually a mini album or EP CD, four songs in total. The songs are modern funky blues, two by Tommy Castro and one each by Lloyd Jones and Fenton Robinson. The top-notch production and recording was done by Nanaimo BC’s Rick Salt at Mountain View Studio. The CD really sounds superb!
The songs… Opening with Castro’s “Can’t Keep a Good Girl Down”, the CD gets off to a hard driving start, the song has a ZZ Top/Fabulous Thunderbirds feel, very much modern Texas-style blues/rock. Summer is in excellent voice, strong, gutsy and confident. Ross Damude handles the lead guitar chores most ably, adding some Gibbons inspired squeals. The rhythm section of Buddy Love (guitar), James Darling (keys), Todd Sacerty (bass) and Phil Wipper (drums) is very tight. Wipper’s drumming is especially notable here.
Lloyd Jones’ “Love Gotcha” is a great choice as Summer is a big fan of Lloyd and handles the funky blues with soulful and punchy ease. Pierre Komen is featured on tenor sax. Nice James Brown scream on the end too!
“Right as Rain” by Castro has a bit of an Aretha Franklin flavour which suits Summer very well, as one of her primary influences. Komen adds good harmony vocals and Darling contributes some smouldering organ.
The closest thing to a standard here is Robinson’s “You Don’t Know What Love Is”, another funky soul/blues with great bass from Sacerty, soulful guitar from Damude, jazzy piano by Darling and the solid rhythm section that has performed so well on this disc. Summer is slightly more pensive in her delivery here which suits the song.
Too bad that’s all there is to it. To be fair, this wasn’t intended as a full-length release but it just ends too quickly, kind of like listening to one side of an LP. That isn’t really a knock on it though, as it definitely leaves the listener wanting more.
Victoria could use more of this! Highly recommended for soul/blues and modern blues fans!
Posted: Mar 2, 2016